It is that time of the year again and we cannot help but say:
“Now thank we all our God with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things has done, in whom his world rejoices…”
Indeed, with our hearts, hands, and voices we give thanks to our merciful and gracious God for how far He has brought us. All too soon, 2022 draws to a close and we cannot help but thank God for His faithfulness.
But before I proceed further, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, I wish to take the opportunity to stand on my behalf and that of my wife Adelaide and the entire Agyepong and allied families to thank you all sincerely for the outpouring of love and support during the demise and final funeral rites of my late father, Opanyin Samuel Kwame Agyepong.
Words fail me as I recall the great support and services you rendered to make the final journey of my father memorable and spectacular. To avoid a situation where I mention one and leave out others, let me just say thank you to you all.
However, I cannot have this platform without thanking the President of the Republic H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his Vice Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and their wives, Former Presidents John Agyekum Kufuor and John Dramani Mahama for their presence at the funeral. It was one of the most humbling moments of my life and I will never forget it.
Purpose of Gathering
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen
It gives me much pleasure to welcome you to this year’s Thanksgiving Service of the Jospong Group of Companies and Zoomlion. As has become our tradition, every year, we gather like this across the country with employees, families, the President and his executives and appointees in government, past government officials, chiefs, partners, and stakeholders to celebrate the goodness of the Lord over our businesses.
Overcoming Our Economic Crises Through Local Production
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
This year has been characterized by severe economic challenges, which have had negative impacts on businesses and individuals. In these circumstances, there is the inclination to gloss over the goodness of the Lord and not appreciate Him for divine preservation. Let’s remember that through it all, the Lord has been good and faithful to us.
Although Ghana has gone through crises so many times since independence, as a country, we have always come out successfully. We can liken our situation to that of Israel in 2 Kings Chapters 6 and 7 where there was food shortage as a result of the siege laid by the Syrians. The shortage was so severe that a donkey’s head and a dove’s dung were being sold for 80 pieces of silver and 5 pieces of silver respectively. A dispute even arose between two women when one had offered her child to be eaten and the other refused to offer hers. It took the prophet of God Elisha to prophecy that “tomorrow by this time you will be able to able to buy in Samaria 3 kilogrammes of the best wheat or 6 kilogrammes of barley for one piece of silver”. Just as He did for the Israelites, I trust God to deliver Ghana out of our predicaments.
The economic challenges that we are facing should rather bring forth our entrepreneurial spirit as we find homegrown solutions to them. It is now time for us to increase our domestic production and ensure that we consume what we produce in order to reduce the incessant pressure on the Ghana cedi. I firmly believe that if we prioritize localisation, we shall come out of this situation victorious through the grace of the Almighty God.
Government must be commended for its policy initiatives to boost local productive capacity and the protection of local industries by cutting down on imports. Indeed, the government’s decision to restrict the importation of commodities such as vegetable oil, rice, poultry, fruit juices, and ceramic tiles, is a step in the right direction towards self-sustenance.
However, I would call for an extension of the restriction to cover anything that is being produced by locals and for which we have comparative advantage. In this regard, we need to boost the domestic avenues for their production, and these avenues would create ample job opportunities for our youth.
As we applaud government over its domestication efforts, we are humbly asking government to be committed and very firm on this policy. We don’t want a situation where people will invest heavily in local industries only to be derailed by a lack of commitment on the part of government.
In our current economic circumstances, the people of Ghana even deserve more praise for their hard work, understanding, patience, support, and resilience. By our nature and cultural orientation, Ghanaians are typically industrious, peace-loving, united and supportive.
We are well-known, and ever will be, for these virtues. Ghanaians have been known to love their country, and able to work hard to manage their own affairs when given the opportunity. Regardless of how unsatisfactory conditions are, our people have been loyal to our beloved country.
As we strengthen our feet in the paths of domestication, we are entreated to work harder than ever before, to do quality work and produce quality commodities. We should have a healthy attitude towards Ghana-made products and patronize them. This way we will pick up our strides and our economy will bounce back, not only to normalcy but also to buoyancy. The future of the country rests in our hands.
We must all cherish, support, and sustain the modest gains that we have made over this period. May I use this opportunity to also encourage other businesses to support the efforts and initiatives of the government. I will continue to admonish the youth to also put their hands on deck, launch out and take advantage of opportunities being provided by government through its various youth-related initiatives like YouStart, planting for food and jobs to contribute their quota to national development.
Let us not give up; Let us not despair. Let us trust and hope and remember the advice of Lao Tzu, the Chinese Philosopher, “As long as we have hope, we have direction, the energy to move, and the map to move by.”
Let’s make Ghana work again!
Our thanksgiving service is all about appreciating God and appreciating the individual stakeholders who the Lord in diverse ways has used to drive our businesses forward in the year under review.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
I would like to appreciate the Ministries of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Energy, Roads and Highways Members of Parliament, the Parliamentary Select Committee on Sanitation, Environment and Local Government, and MMDCES.
To our partners and friends – Members of the Environmental Service Providers Association (ESPA), the Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS), Graphic Communication Group, financing partners, Komptech, Pureco, Bollegaaf, Eiffage and EMO Technologies, the Embassies of Hungary, the Netherlands, France and the Diplomatic Corps and other embassies, we thank you for your continuous support and partnership. Together we will transform our world.
I am eternally grateful to our eminent clergy – Apostles and Pastors of various churches particularly the Chairman of the Church of Pentecost, the National Chief Imam, Muslim leaders and our traditional leaders, for your fervent prayers and wise counsel to keep us focused.
I am equally grateful to all our financing partners, both local and abroad, for your continuous support to the Jospong Group.
To the Board of Directors, Executives, Management and staff of all the subsidiaries within and outside Ghana, I commend you for the numerous awards won and I thank you all very much for your commitment and sacrifices. We have come this far because of your dedication and hard work.
Above all, I would like to thank the people of Ghana for their continuous feedback, prayers, and unflinching support for the Jospong Group and other private sector players. Indeed, we all have a role to play in making Ghana an enviable country.
End of Year and New Year Greetings
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
I would like to conclude by wishing you and your families, good health, peace, and prosperity. Let us all remain committed to the Jospong Group and work towards improving the lives of people.
As we go into the new year 2023, I’m confident about the future and I look forward to a productive and brighter new year. Let us work together towards sustaining our gains through operational excellence in the coming year.
I would like to wish you, your family, and all your loved ones a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year 2023.
May the Lord bless us all!